India on Saturday took exception to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's unequivocal support for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) and told Turkey to "not interfere in India's internal affairs."
According to ANI news agency, Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar responded to President Erdogan's statement by saying: “India rejects all references to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral and inalienable part of India.”
“We call upon the Turkish leadership not to interfere in India’s internal affairs and develop a proper understanding of the facts, including the grave threat posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan to India and the region,” Kumar added.
The Turkish president had on Friday compared “the struggle of Kashmiri people” with that of the Turkish people's struggle against foreign occupation during World War I.
While addressing a joint session of Parliament before ending his two-day trip to Pakistan on Friday, Erdogan said what had happened in Turkey a hundred years ago was being repeated in Indian occupied Kashmir today.
"Events that happened a hundred years ago in Çanakkale in Turkey are being repeated in Indian occupied Kashmir and Turkey will continue to raise its voice against the oppression.
"Today, the issue of Kashmir is as close to us as it is to you [Pakistanis]," he had said, reiterating Turkey's support for Kashmiris.
Referring to Kashmir multiple times in his address yesterday, Erdogan also said: "Our Kashmiri brothers and sisters have suffered from inconveniences for decades and these sufferings have become graver due to unilateral steps taken in recent times.
"The Kashmir issue can be resolved not through conflict or oppression but on the basis of justice and fairness. Such a solution will serve the interests of all parties concerned. Turkey will continue to stand by justice, peace and dialogue in the resolution of the Kashmir issue," he said.
Pakistan's efforts to raise awareness about the plight of the people of occupied Kashmir have become more pronounced since August 5, 2019 when India repealed Article 370 of its constitution, stripping the region of its special status.
India also divided up occupied Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories; one Jammu and Kashmir, and the other the Buddhist-dominated high altitude region of Ladakh. The bifurcation of the territory came into effect on October 31 last year.
Since India's measures of revoking Kashmir's special status came into place, the issue has been raised thrice in the United Nations Security Council and also in the European Union Parliament.